Transferring Projects between Computer


I was wondering if anyone else had this same problem.

It’s been a while since I have used Audacity. I have a desktop and a Laptop, both running Windows 10. I would like to keep all of my projects on my desktop (just my own preference) but it is easier to bring my desktop to my stereo to record Vinyl, etc.

I recorded a few songs on my laptop and copied the project to an USB drive and then copied the project from my USB drive to my Desktop. I converted the songs to WAV files and burnt them to a CD, and played the CD. The music only came out on the left speakers. The project played in stereo on my laptop and also when I converted the songs to WAV on my laptop.

Recorded a whole album and I did the same thing. This time, the music played in stereo on my desktop. However, when I was glancing over the wave frequency lines on Audacity (sorry I don’t know what they are called) I saw that they went out of whack at one point. So, I played that part of the song, and the music switched from Stereo to just the left speaker. This was not the case on the laptop project at the same point in the song.

The file sizes were the same on each computer. I tried playing it from the USB drive and it was the same as the desktop with the song switching to left speaker only. So, the problem must have happened when I transferred from laptop to USB.

It could be a bad USB drive, I suppose, but I was just wondering if anyone else had this happen, or may know why it would happen.


It is much easier and safer to transfer audio files (WAV, Flac, MP3,…) than Audacity Projects.
If you really want to copy projects over, ensure that you have read and understood this page of the manual:

When moving projects, I would recommend:

  1. Export a backup WAV of FLAC file first, just in case it all goes pear shaped.
  2. Create an empty folder, and name it according to the name of the project.
  3. In Audacity, open the project that you want to move.
  4. From Audacity, use “File menu > Save Project > Save Project As”, and save the project into the folder that you created in step 2.
  5. Close Audacity.
  6. Make a “ZIP” archive of the entire folder created in step 2.
  7. Copy the ZIP archive to the new computer.
  8. Extract the contents of the ZIP archive. This should give you a folder that contains the full project (“.aup” file and it’s “_data” folder)

Thanks Steve, that’s great! Exactly the info needed!

BTW - in my first paragraph, when I wrote " easier to bring my desktop to my stereo to record Vinyl, etc. " I meant to say " easier to bring my laptop to my stereo to record Vinyl, etc.", but I think you figured that out.

So, the zipped version of the project is safer to transfer.

Is there any need to even save the project once you convert to WAV? In other words, if I open the WAV file in Audacity, can I still do the same things with it that I can do within the Project? So, export to WAV, and use the WAV (untracked, etc) as the main source to store instead of the project.

Thanks again!

The “built in safety” of the ZIP file, is that if there’s any problem with the (one) file, then it probably won’t open. If it opens on the new computer, then that’s a good indication that the file has copied over perfectly. Just one file per project to check. Just looking at the file size of the ZIP (before and after transfer) is a reasonable (though not foolproof) quick check.

If you want to be 100% sure that it has copied over perfectly (rather than just 99.99% sure), then way to do that is to calculate a “checksum” for the ZIP file before and after transferring it, but that’s probably going a bit extreme unless the projects are extremely valuable.

Only if you want to continue working on it.

There are a few limitations. For example, if you use “Envelopes” (Envelope Tool - Audacity Manual) in the project, then you can adjust them at any time, but once you export the WAV file, they are applied to the data and become permanent. Similarly with mixing tracks - once tracks are mixed together as a single file, you can’t “un-mix” them.

Isn’t that a little extreme? What happened to move the AUP file and _DATA folder to the same place or folder? If that fails, you may have a lot more serious computer problems than a recording won’t open.


Which part?

Using ZIP files counters many of the problems that we see when people move projects. It guarantees that the complete project arrives at the other end.

Checksums are, as I mentioned, a bit OTT in most cases, but can be very useful when using less reliable data transfer methods, such as sending over a network, or using less reliable storage media such as CDRW or bargain basement USB sticks. (My experience of branded USB sticks has found them to be extremely reliable, but some cheap ones on ebay are rubbish.)

Thanks for the responses. They were very helpful!! Excellent information!

Thanks again.